By Chris Chaney
New Richmond High School senior Tyler David’s prep swimming career ended successfully.
The freestyler was Clermont County’s lone representative at the CT Branin Natatorium in Canton this past weekend, qualifying, competing and advancing out of the preliminaries in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
“It was a real great success,” New Richmond head swimming coach Judy Middeler said. “The first goal he set for himself was to get to state and he did that. They take the top-24 (in the state) to the prelims and from there, they cut it down to 16 for the finals and the second goal was to make it to the finals, which he did.”
Qualifying out of the preliminary round was objective No. 1 for the Lions’ senior as David traveled up to Canton on Wednesday afternoon to acclimate himself as best he could with the surroundings in an effort to keep stress levels as low as possible.
David qualified to the state meet by virtue of some lofty times in his two events at the districts, which was held on the campus of Miami University. He finished in 10th place in the Southwest Ohio District in the 200 freestyle, seeding himself 14th overall in the state with a time of 1:46.67.
In the 500, David clocked the 7th-best time in the district, seeding himself 10th overall with a time of 4:47.31.
Swimming on the state’s biggest stage on Thursday evening, David touched the wall in 16th place in the 200 and 15th in the 500 and although his times didn’t improve, he did advance to the finals on Friday evening.
“Going to state, you have over a thousand people sitting in there watching you swim — it’s the largest seating facility in the state of Ohio and the place is filled,” Middeler explained. “I was impressed because in the prelims, you know the pressure is on and that they are going to eliminate eight people, but he did very well.”
The senior finished in 14th place in the 200-yard freestyle, swimming a 1:47.03. Even given his best time in the postseason — from sectional through state prelims — David would have finished in the same position.
In the 500, David finished in 16th in the state with a time of 4:50.98, nearly three-tenths of a second slower than his preliminary time. David’s best postseason time in the event, which he swam at the district meet, would have placed him in 11th.
“His times weren’t as good as he wanted them to be,” Middeler said. “But I explained to him that when it’s your first year going to state, with the whole atmosphere, he did a great job and we were really pleased with him.”
Although David’s times fell a bit short of his own expectations, his accomplishments were not diminished in the eyes of his coaches, family members, friends and even prospective mentors at the next level.
“(David) talked to the Cleveland State coach after the meet on Friday night while we were still up in Canton,” Middeler said. “That was a real positive. He’s hoping to go up and visit. That was a plus on the end of the evening and it was a real positive conversation.”
A productive conversation was the perfect ending to a career milestone for David. Middeler said she’s hoping to hear some good news stemming from that conversation in the next few weeks.
And as for David’s immediate impact, he will have his name on the record board in the New Richmond natatorium as a member of the fastest 400-yard freestyle relay team in school history as well as leaving an indelible mark on those who swam alongside him of what’s possible when hard work meets opportunity.